It's all about that pad thai caramel. 🤤
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Pepper Teigan
Credit: Getty Images / Amanda Edwards

If you've been hanging out with us for a bit, you know we're hopelessly devoted to cravings. By that, we mean:

  1. Feeding our own hankerings and not enjoying all of our favorites every so often—in moderation—balanced out with oodles of colorful plant foods the majority of the time. (80/20 FTW!)
  2. The kind coined by Chrissy Teigen.

Our latest discovery related to the latter Cravings has us dreaming of dinner, thanks to a sneak peek from Chrissy's mom's upcoming April 13 release, The Pepper Thai Cookbook (buy it: $17.84, Amazon).

"Whether you are doing a low-carb thing or just want to make vegetables seem more enticing, this recipe is for you," Chrissy Teigen says in a recent newsletter to those (like us!) who follow along with all of the culinary happenings on Cravings. "Mom took all the flavors of pad thai and put them into a pad thai CARAMEL!"

In addition to being lower in carbs than pad thai made with noodles, Pepper says that this creation is a winner because, "The Brussels sprouts roast on a sheet pan, which makes it super easy."

She admits it's a bit of a stretch to still refer to this as pad thai since pad means "noodle" in Thai. But the sauce is infused with the same flavors of the classic noodle dish you know and love, just with roasted Brussels sprouts with "that same chewy-tender texture," according to the details on the how-to for Pepper's Pad Thai Brussels Sprouts.

"The secret is to halve the sprouts and roast them first, so they become crispy and browned. Then toss the sprouts with a sweet- tangy glaze at the end and garnish with the usual toppings you would find at a street vendor stall in Bangkok: bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, chile powder, and scallions....You'll never look at Brussels sprouts the same way again."

Yes. Please.

To make it, start with the caramel. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, mix brown sugar and water, and stir for about 15 minutes, or until this combo reaches a deep amber hue. Take this off the heat, allow to cool a touch, then stir in salt, white pepper, minced garlic, fresh cilantro, fish sauce (like Red Boat Fish Sauce; $12.29 for 17 ounces, Amazon) and lime juice. Pop the pan back on the burner, turn the temp down to low and warm for 4 minutes more, or when you see a smooth sauce form.

Warning: You might want to make a double batch of what's listed in the recipe for this caramel. "You can and should use this glaze on alllll roasted veggies from now on," Chrissy says in her newsletter.

Toss a mountain of halved Brussels sprouts with vegetable oil, then spread them out evenly cut-side down on a sheet pan. Roast at 425°, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes total until the sprouts are golden and charred in spots. Remove the pan from the oven, pour the roasted Brussels sprouts into a big, heat-safe bowl, and dump in all the pad thai caramel. Let cool for a few minutes, then fold in bean sprouts, sliced scallions, chopped roasted peanuts and roasted chile powder (such as North of the Border New Mexico Red Chile Powder; $6.98 for 3 ounces, Amazon). Garnish with cilantro leaves, serve with lime wedges and devour.

Get Pepper's Pad Thai Brussels Sprouts recipe here. Craving even more riffs on the theme? Try our 5-star Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu, Sweet Potato Pad Thai (complete with spiralized sweet potato noodles) and our 30-minute DIY Chicken Pad Thai.